Sermon #1203 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: The Believer’s Hope
Text: Lamentations 3:21-26
Subject: The good hope of grace
Date: Sunday morning – September 17, 1995
Tape # R-74
My subject this morning is The Believer’s Hope. Twenty-three years ago, I heard Bro. Mahan preaching on this subject in Birmingham, AL. In his introductory comments, he made several statements that I jotted down, knowing at the time that they were powerful, powerful statements that need to be remembered. He said, “Somewhere between proud presumption and dread despair is the believer’s hope. Somewhere between fleshly familiarity with God and a slavish fear of God is the believer’s hope. Somewhere between modern decisionism and mid-evil fatalism is the believer’s hope.” Then, he went on the say, “In the word of God we are hedged in between the promises of God and his warnings. On one side we have his promises, lest we despair. On the other side we have his warnings, lest we presume.”
This matter of the believer’s hope is a subject of immense importance. The Scriptures tell us that all who are born of God have “a good hope through grace” (2 Thess. 2:16). “We are saved by hope” (Rom. 8:24). We live “in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Tit. 1:2).
NOTE: As it is used in the Bible, the word “hope” does not represent an empty, baseless wish, or desire. As it is used in the Bible, “hope” is the expectation of faith. It is the confident expectation of all good, both in this world and in the world to come, based upon the promises, grace, and goodness of God in Christ.
We hope that we are saved, forgiven, justified, and accepted with God. We hope to go to heaven when we die. We hope to stand among the redeemed in the day of judgment. But what is the basis fo our hope? Today, I want us to bring our hope to the Word of God and examine it in the light of Holy Scripture. If I have a good hope, it will bear examination. If I do not have a good hope, if my hope is an empty, vain delusion, I want to know. I want what the Bible calls “a good hope,” “a hope that maketh not ashamed” (Rom. 5:4).
The believer’s hope is that which gives him peace, contentment, and confidence in a world of trouble and sorrow; it is that which anchors his soul in the storms of life; it is faith looking forward with confidence in God.
If you will open your Bibles to Lamentations 3:21-26, I will show you our six fold hope as it is set forth in these verses.
I. Our hope is God’s mercy.
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.” Some have hope because of their family relations. Some have hope in their church. Some hope in themselves.
1. Their religious works.
2. Their religious experiences: A prayer, a decision, a feeling.
But there are some who hope upon God’s mercy. The believer’s hope is that the Lord will deal with him in mercy.
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.” Our wealth may be consumed by many things. Our health may be consumed with sickness, disease, or old age. Our bodies may be consumed with death. But we are not consumed, neither in our beings nor in our well-being! We are not consumed because of God’s “mercies”. How I like that word “mercy”. And here it is put in the plural “mercies!”
A. External, covenant mercies (Eph. 1:3-6; Heb. 6:17-19).
B. Blessed redemptive mercies (Eph. 1:7-12).
C. Saving, regenerating, preserving mercies (Eph. 1:13-14).
D. Special, daily, providential mercies (Rom. 8:28).
E. Sovereign, immutable mercies (Ps. 89:28; 103:17).
II. Our hope is God’s unfailing inexhaustible love.
Look at this next line – “His compassions fail not.” What a word of grace. God’s love for us is indestructible. Yes, that is what I meant to say, “Indestructible.” There is absolutely nothing we can do, no circumstance into which we might enter, by which God’s love for us can be destroyed, or even altered, or diminished. “His compassions fail not!”
1. Romans 11:29
Could we with ink the oceans fill,
And were the skies with parchment made.
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade –
To write the love of God above
Would drain the oceans dry,
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky!
Let me tell you just three things revealed in the Book about God’s love for his elect in Christ.
A. He loved us from everlasting (Jer. 31:3; Eph. 1:4-5).
B. He loves us freely (Hos. 14:4). – Without cause, without condition, without beginning, without end (1 John 4:19).
C. He loves us to the end (John 13:1).
III. Our hope is in God’s faithfulness.
“They (God’s compassions) are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.” How can I talk to you about the faithfulness of God? Others may talk about their faithfulness, or your faithfulness. I will talk to you about God’s faithfulness. It is not our faithfulness to God that keeps us from being consumed, but God’s faithfulness to us. God is faithful…
A. To himself – “He cannot deny himself!”
B. To his purpose (Isa. 46:9-10).
C. To his covenant (2 Sam. 23:5; Ps. 89:34).
D. To his Son (Ps. 89:27-36).
E. To his people (Heb. 13:5; Isa. 43:1-5; 42:10).
IV. Our hope is the Lord God himself.
“The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him!”
Today men talk of his pardon and miss his presence. They talk of his blessing and miss his Being. They talk of his grace and miss his glory!
“The Lord is the portion of his people in life and in death, in time and to eternity. All he is and has is theirs. They are heirs of him and shall enjoy him forever, and therefore shall not be confounded. He is a portion large and full, inexpressibly rich and great, a soul-satisfying one that will last forever….Happy are those who from their hearts and with their souls, under a testimony of the Spirit of God to their spirits, and through a gracious experience of him, can say he is their portion and exceeding great reward….These may say, ‘Therefore will I hope in him’ –for deliverance from all evils and enemies, for present supplies of grace, and for the enjoyment of future glory and happiness.” – John Gill.
If Christ is your portion, you will bear witness with me that he is…
2. A suitable portion.
3. A sufficient portion.
4. A sweet portion.
5. A sure portion.
6. A satisfying portion.
V. Our hope is the Lord’s goodness.
“The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”
A. “The Lord is good!”
1. In all his attributes.
2. In all his works.
B. “The Lord is good to those who wait for him.” To wait on the Lord is to calmly trust him for deliverance.
1. Psalm 27:14
2. Psalm 37:9
3. Isaiah 40:31
4. Isaiah 64:4
C. “The Lord is good to the soul that seeketh him.”
Let me tell you five things about those who seek the Lord.
1. They know their need of him.
2. They seek him sincerely (Ps. 27:8).
· In His Word.
· In His house.
· Among His people.
· In prayer.
3. They have faith in him.
4. They seek him continually (Phil. 3:10-14).
5. They are sought of him (Rom. 2:4).
VI. Our hope is God’s salvation.
“It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.” If God is good to those who wait for him, then it must be good for us to both hope and quietly wait for God’s salvation.
A. It is good for lost souls to take their place in the dust as sinners before the throne of grace and wait for God’s salvation (Matt. 8:1). “If you will…”
B. It is good for troubled saints to quietly wait for God’s salvation in all temporal troubles (John 11:40; 13:7).
C. It is good for us to wait in hope for the consummation of our salvation by Christ.
Here is the believer’s hope – God’s mercy, his love, his faithfulness, Christ our Portion, the Lord’s goodness, and God’s salvation. What is your hope?